9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[emp-tee-han-did] /ˈɛmp tiˈhæn dɪd/
having nothing in the hands, as in doing no work:
While we were carrying out the luggage, he stood by empty-handed.
having gained nothing:
to return from a quest empty-handed.
bringing no gift, donation, etc.:
They came to the birthday party empty-handed.
Origin of empty-handed
1605-15 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for empty-handed
  • Now he will have to go away empty-handed, if he does not lose his life.
  • When he went out alone he generally returned empty-handed.
  • With a full cargo, a stiff head-wind is a great hindrance, but fresh and empty-handed they can face it with more ease.
  • But the central government has begun to shut down such programs, leaving many students empty-handed upon graduation.
  • Yet, making the effort can truly mean the difference between landing the job or walking away empty-handed.
  • They told tales of people laboring for years on the market but ending up empty-handed.
  • But later searches closer to home came up empty-handed.
  • But repeated searches for this myriad population of frosty worlds came up empty-handed.
  • But bonobos were much more social, approaching experimenters even when they were empty-handed.
  • The empty-handed males were mostly unsuccessful at mating.
British Dictionary definitions for empty-handed


carrying nothing in the hands
having gained nothing: they returned from the negotiations empty-handed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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